OK. The important thing when you are on a long road trip with small kids is to stop often for physical activity. But as we left Barstow and sunrise behind, in the Mojave desert options such as McD’s play areas are far and few between. Anyhow, kids may like “Happy Meals” (or at least the toys that come with them) but from the parental viewpoint there are only so many fast food joints one can take.
Which reminds me that I used to quote a Woody Allen quip to the effect that hell was being locked in with an insurance salesman listening to country and western music in an endless loop. (Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of country music!). I’ve come to think that my own personal definition of the fiery domain is going from one McD to another listening endlessly to Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Don’t ask: it is a book on tape for kids featuring the heroic steam shovel Mary Anne and the town hall basement in Popperville. Can she dig the cellar in just one day? This book is dearly beloved by our Nicky, who tends to be as obsessive as only a four-year-old can be about the things he loves.
Well, if you do ask I can probably recite the story for you word for word. Written by the inimitable children’s book author Virginia Lee Burton in 1939, it has (as the book jacket puts it), “never lost its appeal for kids.” It sure has for me, though.
Anyhow, the important thing when you are taking a break with young kids out in the desert is to try to find a place where the kids (especially an into-everything toddler like Mathew) won’t stumble into a cactus or some other deadly hazard while they are running around.
This dirt road off a dirt road stop in the middle of nowhere fit the bill. And as we were running around chasing each other, I noticed this tiny (really tiny! I mean almost microscopic) winter desert flower. Fodder for my camera, tripod, macro lens and 36mm extension tube. I think it works best with moderate depth of field (this was taken at f/11). The background plants are even Christmas-like in their red and green coloration!